Most people aware from what they've read in the newspapers and books and heard on the radio and television that there's a controversy among scientists and doctors about AIDS think it's all about whether HIV causes it. It isn't.

The reason for this general misconception is that the best known dissident scientist is Professor Peter Duesberg at the University of California at Berkeley; and he claims, as all conventional AIDS experts do, that 'HIV' undoubtedly exists and that it's a virus transmitted from mother to child in the womb and during sex ('readily' between 'the most sexually active homosexuals', he alleges, but with 'extremely low efficiency' between heterosexuals). But no worries, he says, because anyway it's harmless: 'HIV is just a passenger virus': 'HIV is a long-established, non-pathogenic passenger virus, neutralized by antibody after asymptomatic, perinatal or non-perinatal infections (just like all other human and animal retroviruses) [10].'

We disagree.

So do former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe (currently Deputy President to President Jacob Zuma).

We share the conclusion of nuclear physicist Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos in the Department of Medical Engineering & Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, that the HIV theory of AIDS is wrong for a more basic reason.

Mbeki stated it in a monograph of which he's lead author, Castro Hlongwane, Caravans, Cats, Geese, Foot & Mouth and Statistics: HIV/AIDS and the Struggle for the Humanisation of the African, discussed by a National Executive Committee meeting of the African National Congress in March 2002:

Strange as it may seem, given what our friends tell us about the Virus everyday, nobody has seen it, including our friends. Nobody knows what it looks like. Nobody knows how it behaves. Everybody acts on the basis of a series of hypotheses about the Virus, which are presumed to be facts, supposedly authenticated by 'clinical evidence.

 Those who have imbibed the faith that millions of us are infected by a deadly HI virus will disbelieve the assertion that the work of isolating our unique HI Virus has not been done. The omnipotent apparatus will scream loudly that the telling of this truth constitutes the very heart of the criminal non-conformity that must be denounced and repressed by all means and at all costs.

Rather than perpetuate our self-repression, it is time that we demanded that the necessary scientific work be done to isolate and analyse the Virus that is said to be so deadly.

(Speaking at Rhodes University in Grahamstown on 25 May 2009, Mbeki emphasized that he has never argued – as Duesberg and a couple of his disciples do – that 'HIV doesn't cause AIDS': he'd never said this, someone had made it up, and anyone claiming otherwise should produce the evidence that he had.)

Deputy President Motlanthe, then Secretary General of the ANC, had the same to say about 'HIV' in an interview by Professor Padraig O'Malley on 22 August 2000. Scientists, he said, are

still trying to isolate the virus. … this virus still has to be scientifically isolated. … the virus must still be isolated. There is no evidence anywhere that there has been any isolation of it.

In a further interview on 15 September, three weeks later, he repeated:

our position is that from all accounts this virus has not been isolated and photographed and studied under controlled conditions as to what its behaviour is. … there is ongoing research work by scientists to try and isolate this virus. … [Whites] are gullible. You see, half of them don't read but they regard themselves as well informed because they're white. The reason why when you ask – you ask any of the experts whether they have seen evidence, any piece of document that says scientist so-and-so in such a country has isolated this HIV virus and photographed it and studied its modus vivendi under controlled conditions, they will swear at you. They will tell you that question was answered twenty years ago, they will tell you you are giving audience to dissidents. They will not tell you because it's not there. That's why they become vicious because it is simply not there. They take it on authority and then it gets passed on like that but there's no authority, it's a lie repeated by those who are supposed to know better. The truth of the matter is that if they were to admit that indeed no such thing has happened ['this virus has not been isolated and photographed'] I mean it would cause serious reverberations across the scientific world. … It would be like when Galileo [challenged the geocentric theory of the universe] it caused serious reverberations. That's what will happen with this thing.

(Trevor Manuel, Minister in The Presidency and head of the National Planning Commission, is also onto this, but doesn't say so publicly. One of South Africa's leading medical scientists too, but he's chosen to stay in deep cover for now. President Jacob Zuma obviously doesn't take 'HIV' terribly seriously eirther.)

Papadopulos-Eleopulos and her medical colleagues (the Perth Group) briefly explain the point Mbeki and Motlanthe were making about 'HIV' in a brief outline Proving the Existence of HIV (PDF, 23 KB).

They elaborate in The Perth Group Revisits the Existence of HIV (PDF, 282 KB), a paper written for Brink to present with a supporting slideshow of electron micrographs at an international AIDS conference in Ekaterinburg, Russia, on 29-30 May 2008.

Both papers cite expert evidence given by several orthodox AIDS experts, including Dr Robert Gallo the author of the HIV theory of AIDS, in the Parenzee case (more below), corroborating the Perth Group's pivotal contention that before claiming to have discovered a retrovirus one must purify it and publish electron micrographs of purified virus proving it actually exists. The papers cite Professor Luc Montagnier, generally credited with having discovered 'HIV' in 1983, agreeing. Likewise Professor Jean-Claude Chermann, the second author of Montagnier's 1983 paper in which he claimed to have discovered 'HIV'; he agrees too.

But not Duesberg. He's the odd man out here. Even though he's a professor of molecular and cell biology, so you'd think he knows the score, he claims that purification of retrovirus particles and proof of their existence by electron micrography is unnecessary. No one knows where he gets this idea of his from.

The Perth Group's exhaustive examination of the subject, 'A Critical Analysis of the Evidence for the Existence of HIV', (written before the Parenzee case) is appended to their monograph Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and its Prevention with AZT and Nevirapine: A Critical Analysis of the Evidence (PDF, 2.03 MB) published in October 2001: see Appendix XI at page 175.

An abridged version of this paper, A Critical Analysis of the Montagnier Evidence for the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis (PDF, 165 KB), was published three years later in the journal Medical Hypotheses 2004 63(4):597-601.

You may be surprised to learn that 'HIV' has never been shown to exist, seeing that Montagnier was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008 for his claim to have discovered it twenty-five years earlier. The Perth Group outline why he didn't in their Shortened Commentary on Montagnier's 1983 Science Paper (PDF, 20 KB), and elaborate in A critical analysis of Montagnier's 1983 'seminal' Science paper (PDF, 160KB).

See further:

Montagnier, T4 cells (acquired immune deficiency) and the Perth Group oxidative theory of 'HIV/AIDS' (PDF, 120KB)

The 'HIV' genome (PDF, 116KB)

Papadopulos-Eleopulos's evidence-in-chief in the Parenzee case (PDF, 4.5MB)

Turner's evidence-in-chief in the Parenzee case (PDF, 1.2MB)

Are Montagnier's particles a retrovirus? (PDF, 681KB)

Read also French-Algerian investigative journalist Djamel Tahi's interview with Montagnier, published in the winter 1997 issue of Continuum magazine together with the Perth Group's commentary on his remarkable admissions.

And the Perth Group's submission to Medical Hypotheses in February 2010 concerning the contradictory account Montagnier has given of his method.

The Perth Group debated the evidence the lack of it for the existence of HIV in the British Medical Journal Online and again on the House of Numbers documentary film's FaceBook page (unlike Duesberg, the Perth Group readily and willingly debate all comers at any level and in any forum).

If Montagnier never isolated any virus in 1983, did Gallo, as he claimed the following year? The Perth Group explain why he didn't either in Emergency Medicine (Australia)1993;5:113-123.

No, Duesberg says: contrary to what the Perth Group, Mbeki and Motlanthe say about this, they are all wrong: Montagnier and Gallo most certainly did isolate a new virus. 'Even Peter agrees HIV has been isolated,' crowed Professor William Makgoba at Mbeki's Presidential AIDS Advisory Panel in 2000, and Duesberg confirmed it. (Makgoba, the AIDS industry's local champion, has been Mbeki's most splenetic opponent in the South African AIDS controversy.)

Dr David Rasnick, Duesberg's long-time professional associate and co-author, also thinks the Perth Group, Mbeki and Motlanthe are wrong. Like Duesberg he goes with Montagnier, Gallo and Makgoba on the issue. To him, 'HIV' is as real as his breakfast grits, a 'largely inactive, barely detectable ... ordinary, humdrum virus' – in other words a virus sometimes active, and detectable if you go looking hard enough. But not always ordinary; wow, you also get 'mutant' and 'wild type HIV', he claimed in a paper published in 1997 with extremely impressive mathematical calculations and everything. Less excitingly he claimed in the British Medical Journal Online on 1 April 2003: 'HIV behaves exactly like any other virus in that it rapidly produces a strong immune response and is very quickly eliminated in healthy people without a trace of infectious virus.'

Asked 'What is HIV?' in an interview in August 2008, Rasnick reckoned, 'HIV is a retrovirus. It is one of at least 3 or 4 thousand that have been catalogued [this is pure invention sucked out of his thumb] and it would be the first retrovirus to cause disease if it were true that it causes any disease at all. ... HIV is completely harmless and certainly doesn't cause disease at all.' But then he added, all muddled up: 'HIV has never been obtained from a human being.' Yes, he repeated to his amazed interviewer, it's 'never been obtained from a human being' – by which, explained, he meant 'infectious viable virus ... obtained ... directly from the patient ... from a sample of blood [after you] spin it in a centrifuge'. (Actually any textbook will tell you you purify from culture and never 'directly' from 'a sample of blood'; and a 'virus' that ain't 'infectious' ain't a 'virus'.) Five years earlier, however, Rasnick claimed the opposite in a paper co-authored with Duesberg: 'A similar alert came from a French virus team, which had discovered a retrovirus in a homosexual man at risk for AIDS, which a year later became the accepted cause of AIDS (Barré-Sinoussi et al 1983).' They did they didn't, goddang what the heck!

But such talk at least shows that Rasnick the chemist has picked up somewhere that an alleged retrovirus must be purified to prove its existence; he knows that all biologists working in this speciality are unanimous about this; and Duesberg only reveals his disgraceful ignorance in claiming otherwise. Rasnick also thinks Duesberg's claim that 'HIV' is sexually transmitted is garbage. 'If AIDS is sexually transmitted in the USA then HIV prefers to cause AIDS in men. A very smart virus,' Rasnick scoffed in a letter to Dr Joseph Sonnabend, posted to the internet forum of Mbeki's AIDS Advisory Panel. 'I have shown you evidence that HIV is not sexually transmitted.' This is to say, Rasnick thinks Duesberg makes scientific claims of fact without evidence for them. He just makes things up as he goes along.

Duesberg and the Perth Group closely debated whether 'HIV' has been proved to exist or not in Continuum magazine between May 1996 and February 1997. After which, despite his drubbing in the exchange, Duesberg persisted with his contention that 'HIV Is Real, But Harmless' in the February/March 1998 issue of Reappraising AIDS, as the title to the interview with him summed up.

Decide for yourself after reading the debate and the interview whether you agree with Duesberg that 'The evidence against the existence of HIV was really naive, to say the least. Almost embarrassing.' Which is to say only 'really naive' people like Mbeki and Motlanthe would conclude from the 'evidence presented' that 'HIV' has never been isolated, and it's 'almost embarrassing' that Mbeki and Motlanthe should say such a thing. Or whether you think what Duesberg had to say in the debate and in the interview concerning 'the existence of HIV was really naive, to say the least. Almost embarrassing.'

In a series of open letters he wrote Duesberg between December 1998 and June 1999 Michael Nitsche in Berlin pointed up the manifest scientific deficiencies of Duesberg's claim that 'HIV Is Real, But Harmless' – all of which Duesberg ducked in his 'almost embarrassing' replies, finally brushing Nitsche's pointed questions off with derision. Read their correspondence, and the letter Nitsche wrote to Mbeki about it on 2 May 2000.

On the thing mouldered until early 2008 when Sadun Kal, a bright young Turkish student in Berlin, found the Nitsche/Duesberg letters online, immediately spotted the root cause of the malaise in the AIDS dissident movement, and took a lance to it. In March he wrote to the Rethinking AIDS group and its members, raising in plain terms RA's avoidance of Duesberg's failure to admit his own mistake ... He simply ignores the questions that Michael Nitsche and the Perth Group ask.'

In a string of refreshingly clear, forthright and persistent emails, Kal accordingly charged Duesberg with conducting himself unscientifically, with confusing and dividing the AIDS dissident community, and with obstructing the scientific resolution of the HIV-AIDS myth. Again Duesberg refused to come out of his corner, dodging the issues Kal raised by tossing out a red herring to deflect attention from the point. As for the members of RA, the responses Kal drew were for the most part dismally stupid, emotional, non-sequitous, condescending, defensive, accusatory and insulting – culminating in RA president David Crowe announcing, like a village schoolmaster keeping discipline in his classroom, that he was terminating further correspondence because Kal was 'being incredibly arrogant' and 'owed an apology to Peter over [his] rudeness'. A PDF collation of all the correspondence is available on approved request; email TIG.)

On the 'HIV' isolation/existence issue, the Perth Group have the support of Heinz Ludwig Sänger, Emeritus Professor of Molecular Biology and Virology and former director of the Department of Viroid Research at the Max-Planck-Institutes for Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich, Germany, and winner of the Robert Koch Prize in 1978. In a letter to Süddeutsche Zeitung on 11 October 2000 he wrote:

For twenty years critical scientists have claimed that the existence of HIV has not been proven beyond doubt in the HIV-AIDS research literature, and that it can't be responsible for the immunodeficiency AIDS from an aetiological (causal) and epidemiological point of view. In view of the generally accepted HIV/AIDS hypothesis, this seemed so incredible to me that I decided to investigate the matter myself. After three years of intensive and above all critical study of the relevant original literature as an experienced virologist and molecular biologist, I came to the following surprising conclusion: to date there is no really scientifically convincing evidence for the existence of HIV. Such a retrovirus has never been purified and isolated by the methods of classical virology.

But haven't we just seen an impressive video clip of 'HIV' spreading from cell to cell, publicised by all the newspapers? No, the Perth Group explain, we haven't (PDF, 32 KB).

Note the Perth Group's important critical comments on an ineptly drawn rebuttal by members of the RA board and others of Gallo's criticism of Celia Farber's article, 'Out of Control: AIDS and the Corruption of Medical Science' in Harper's Magazine in March 2006 (PDF, 230 KB).

In December 1999, in an article published in Rethinking AIDS (7;12), 'The Final Act: Should HIV-AIDS critics question the existence of HIV', the Perth Group argued the imperative of doing just that. In 2006/7 they got the historic opportunity to do so in court, and have the question of whether 'HIV' has been shown to exist judicially examined and determined on the scientific evidence.

In an application for leave to appeal against his criminal conviction for endangering the lives of three women by having sex with them while HIV-positive, Andre Parenzee's counsel, as advised by the Perth Group, raised the existence of 'HIV' as the crisp, pivotal issue for trial in the Supreme Court of South Australia in Adelaide. The application failed. Find out why in the Perth Group's indictment of RA president David Crowe's fatal interference in the case (PDF, 113 KB), and read his garrulously evasive non-response to their charges against him (PDF, 37 KB). (Mbeki and Motlanthe have both been briefed.) Further direct evidence of Crowe's sabotage of the case and his deceitfulness about it has since come to light. He hasn't responded.

The Perth Group explained to a prominent criminal lawyer why the mutually destructive 'HIV-hasn't-been-shown-to-exist' and 'HIV-exists-but-is-harmless' defences can never be raised in the alternative in criminal proceedings (PDF, 20 KB) – and in reply he agreed. So do we. And we think only a mental defective would propose a criminal defence strategy along the lines of:

M'Lord, we will be leading expert evidence to show that notwithstanding all that the vampire experts have written about vampires in their many demonology encyclopaedias in the university libraries, vampires have never been shown to exist. But just to make sure we don't lose the case, we'll also be leading the evidence of other experts who contend that vampires most certainly do exist, just as all the vampire experts claim, only they don't bite.